Wednesday, October 17, 2007


The Betriebsausflug is a little trip that everybody in the office/lab/whatever goes on. I think it must be required at our workplace that each group do one of these. My group's is tomorrow.

Some groups go on little day trips. We're going to walk from our office to Schriesheim. As a little part-timer, I considered just not going at all, and I doubt I would be missed. However, I thought that in the end it would be a better political move to go - and I might need whatever edge it will give me later in some work situation. So, tomorrow instead of doing my usual work-the-afternoons thing, I will get up earlier to join this walk to Schriesheim.

One of the reasons I'm uncomfortable with it is that the one person I work with regularly, "PD", has always been great to work with, but never made any effort to make me feel like I belonged socially in our group. Maybe this isn't really his job, but I guess I'm coming from a country where taking the new person to lunch the first day or at least showing them around to meet everyone on the first day is the norm. On my first day of work, he told me he wasn't ready to meet with me yet and that I didn't have an office, so I should just go sit in the kitchen. I sat around in the kitchen with nothing to do but act like my planner was super-fascinating for about 45 minutes, until the secretary happened to find me out there - and it turns out I DID have an office and computer. PD just didn't show me or tell me the secretary knew or anything. He goes to lunch regularly with a group of coworkers, but I was never invited (and I only found out about it from someone else). He didn't tell me when seminars were or where to find the schedule or introduce me to anyone, but was surprised later every time he asked me if I knew so-and-so and I said no. The only people I know are two that I met in class in Mainz, one that I went to English-language orientation with, and the 3 with whom I share an office. How would I know anyone else? Most people are brought around and introduced but I just never was. Especially when I arrived here knowing so little German, I felt I was in no position to go throwing myself into everyone's closed offices to make myself known. It's just left me feeling like I don't fit in and no one wants me to fit in. So, I sort of feel like I shouldn't bother with the Betriebsausflug, because it's sort of a lost cause. I've become used to being the little quiet mouse in the office - although this was certainly never my role in my last job in the US ;)

Well, that was more whiny/ranty than I was expecting, but there it is. It might actually be fine. The people I do know, I really like. I just feel awkward around PD in a non-work environment, and around all those people I don't know who always have their office doors closed. On the other hand I'm looking to put together a pub quiz team and maybe I'll be able to recruit people.....nah. It's on Monday nights, and I don't see that happening with this group.


  1. There are probably always people somewhere trying to make your life difficult. But you are right about how different it is in general in the US (as far as I can tell since I never had a real job in Austria). Wiht both work places I've had here, there was always someone going out of their way to make me feel welcome.

  2. I hope it went ok. Work socializing is always a bit strange. Too bad about the PD. Science is a bit strange because people promoted to management positions because they are good at working alone in a lab.

  3. Just a note: It's not solely an American thing, it is normal to show new people around on the job, it is in Belgium and I'm pretty sure it is in Germany too. We always introduce our new colleagues and take them with us for lunch. It's just decent. Too bad about PD's sub-par social skills.


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